A Mushroom a Day
I have been talking about the health benefits of mushrooms for years. The more I research these fabulous fungi the more I am convinced of their unrivaled benefits for human health. Some mushrooms are considered culinary, while others are not. However, they all have medicinal properties. So, what makes them so spectacular?Many mushrooms belong to a class of extraordinary foods referred to as adaptogens. Adaptogens are a broad family of herbs and plant medicines that have been used for thousands of years throughout the world.Adaptogens balance out your hormones and help calm stress levels. Your body's stress system, the sympathetic nervous system, controls hundreds of pathways that are responsible for inflammation. Inflammation is at the root of all degenerative disease and can lead to hormonal problems like adrenal fatigue, low sex drive, thyroid problems and a host of others problems. Adaptogens help to balance stress hormones and help the body find homeostasis, keeping inflammation levels in check.Many medicinal mushrooms are immunomodulators, which means they help to stimulate and modulate our immune system keeping the immune system strong, stable and consistent. Over 200 species are used in Chinese medicine for this purpose and 25% of them have been shown to fight tumors.Mushrooms can also help us sleep better, reduce allergies, have shinny, thick hair and glowing skin increase energy, alleviate asthma, increase libido, improve memory, detox the liver, lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, improve digestion and much more.They do all this thanks to compounds like polysaccharides, beta-glucans andterpenoids. Polysaccharides are water-soluble compounds that have been shown to modulate the immune system, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and stabilize blood sugar. Beta-glucans are most instrumental in their ability to reduce cancer cells by binding to macrophages, natural killer cells and other immune cells and stimulating the release of anti-cancer molecules. These chemical molecules can also mitigate the effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Terpenoids are the fat-soluble compounds with proven antiviral and antimicrobial properties. These compounds stimulate the destruction of bacteria and viruses without overstimulating the immune system. They also help to balance the hormones and have tremendous anti-inflammatory properties. A mushroom a day, whether sautéed, powdered, made into tea or taken as a supplement can enhance well being. Here are a few to get you started:Reishi - boosts the immune system, balances hormones, enhances sleep, reduces stress and allergies.
Chaga - very high anti-oxidant capacity, wards off the common cold, lowers inflammation and reduces stress.
Cordyceps - enhances athletic performance, increases energy, alleviates asthma.
Lions Mane - improves memory, boosts concentration, protects the nervous system.
Shiitake - enhances cardiovascular health, improves skin, supports liver health and lowers cholesterol.
Tremella - improves skin, protects against pathogens, alleviates asthma